The first time I heard the word stock taking was from a friend. I asked him how the day had gone and what he was doing at that time and he said he was taking stock. He had used the word subsequently and via his frequent usage I became acquainted with the word.

Stock taking simply means taking a review of your daily activities to check if you have achieved set goals. One could do this daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. You could decide to work it out the way it suits you, but at the end of every day, it is not a bad idea to take stock. It helps you keep your life in check and do away with irrelevances. You begin to develop and harness your management skills. The best is that it gives you the motivation you need to face a new day. For instance if after stock taking you realise you misused your day, you could stem the anger or displeasure into ensuring that you make optimum use of the next day. In essence, stock taking is self-evaluation practiced by great men and women who are moving to greater heights.

If you have not been taking stock you could begin today. At the end of everyday or every week, take a review of your activities, decisions and actions. Be very objective. Take note of activities you were involved in that did not add to your life or purpose. Similarly, outline both wise and unwise decisions. This exercise can be effective only when you are objective and disciplined to follow through. Thus, you should eliminate irrelevant activities and replace with something worth the while. Iron out the cause of unwise decisions and address it.

In order to have a better understanding of stock taking let us take the case of Ada a 300L engineering student at the University of Benin. This lady had been failing the semester tests repeatedly and was scared she may fail her exams too. She kept reading but it was not yielding the expected result instead the failure increased.  After sharing her fears with her elder brother, he advised her to begin to take stock at the end of everyday and Ada complied. She started to take stock of everything she did during the day before going to bed at night. As a result, she realised that asides reading she spent the remainder of her time chatting with friends in class. When she was not doing that, she was online chatting with her facebook friends. There was no time for her to review all she had earlier read in the library; hence she forgot most of it before the day even ran out. Ada took appropriate action; she replaced her chatting period with attending evening discussion classes. Her action was effective as she had an excellent result at the end of the semester.

Stock taking is not for the academia alone. It affects every area of our lives. Hence, it is also imperative for a business man to take stock of his transactions. There is a common adage that states that he, who fails to plan, plans to fail. Stock taking enables adequate planning; it is an embodiment of appropriate management skills. For instance, Mrs. Osawere who runs a boutique in Lagos is a mother of five children and the breadwinner of her extended family. She plans her time in order to meet family and business demands. At the end of every business day she reviews the day’s activities to verify everything is intact. She checks the invoice and goes through other transactions. Overtime, Mrs Osawere has been able to correct oversights and other petty mistakes while taking stock.

Similarly, Mr. Olumide runs a big farm in Benin. He is up at dawn to address his workers before dropping his children in school and his wife at work. He has so many things on hand that he hardly has time to settle. He has rescheduled his weekly meeting with his staff over five times. Also, he has not been able to go through the weekly report submitted by his farm manager. At the end of the month, Mr. Olumide lost a number of his live stock as they had not received their vaccination for almost two months. He almost blamed his farm manager for not making him aware but remembered that it had been brought up a few times. Though it was a hard one to lose his live stock, Mr. Olumide had to accept that the fault was his.

If he continues in that vein, his farm business may crash due to lack of management. In comparison, Mrs Osawere has been able to handle her business due to continuous stock taking. From these scenarios we can see that both parties run business but one was able to manage it better than the other. Proper management is the essence of stock taking. You should start taking stock of your business transactions and you would definitely see results. If you are already on it please stick to it.

The practice of stock taking can be applied to every area of your life. It helps you manage your time wisely and achieve the best. It also helps you make better decisions. The year is coming to an end. It is still impossible for you to achieve those goals you set out at the beginning of the year or at some point in your life.  You have time on your hands. All you need to do is begin to take stock of your activities daily. I am very positive that it would help you align your activities with your goals. In stock taking (2) I will point out how to take stock daily. Instead of counting the days, make the days count. Have a wonderful week!

Abimbola Iyun Roberts

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